From left: Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar; Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan
Micheál Martin tells the Dáil that the newly-augmented ‘office of the Tánaiste’ will equip Leo Varadkar with “five or six” special advisors, and the office of Leader of the Green Party will have “four or five” special advisors
A short film from Equate Ireland ahead of the general election, as part of the group’s Open The School Gates campaign.
“With a general election expected next month, a movement is underway in the rapidly changing nation to target another hurtful social condition by which non-Catholic children are legally denied seats at overcrowded state-financed primary schools, 97 percent of which are controlled by Catholic authorities.”
“With schools allowed to give preference to Catholics, other families are forced to have their children baptized in the church, linger on school waiting lists or search for scarce alternatives. Only 74 of the nation’s 3,200 primary schools are run by Educate Together, the main multidenominational alternative, whose Dublin schools are swamped with four applications for every available space.”
“…Church officials are at odds, with some urging a slow evolution toward a more open-door policy in the schools. Clearly the current policy is at odds with a modern Ireland. The most encouraging force in the debate is the Irish public’s realization that their nation can no longer afford shameful religious bias to remain in the law.”
I would suggest we have predominantly church-run schools because parents have virtually no choice in the matter.
If the church is so sure of its position in the debate, then surely there would be no objection to asking the people of Ireland what they want, democratically, rather than dictating ever more from the pulpit. A vote to decide the matter once and for all would seem a reasonable proposition.
The report is designed to provide a roadmap for the transfer of Catholic schools to other patrons. In the first phase, it recommends 43 towns and four Dublin areas where there is likely to be substantial demand for diversity.
This will involve 18 dioceses and scrutiny of 250 schools, of which about 50 may be divested. Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has said he hopes to see 1,500 of the 3,000 Catholic primary schools divested. The report is much more cautious. It backs a three-stage process as follows:
* The department gathers information on the demand for divestment through parental surveys;
* Various school patrons provide the Department of Education with a range of options for divestment after consultations with school communities;
* The department evaluates the options and submits a report to the Minister.
Gather information. Provide a range of options. Report to the minister.